A gem from Nassim Taleb, a trader who predicted the crash and sees more difficulties ahead:
What I am seeing and hearing on the news — the reappointment of Bernanke — is too hard for me to bear. I cannot believe that we, in the 21st century, can accept living in such a society. I am not blaming Bernanke (he doesn’t even know he doesn’t understand how things work or that the tools he uses are not empirical); it is the Senators appointing him who are totally irresponsible — as if we promoted every doctor who caused malpractice. The world has never, never been as fragile. Economics make homeopath and alternative healers look empirical and scientific. (emphasis by Inthon)
No news, no press, no Davos, no suit-and-tie fraudsters, no fools. I need to withdraw as immediately as possible into the Platonic quiet of my library, work on my next book, find solace in science and philosophy, and mull the next step. I will also structure trades with my Universa friends to bet on the next mistake by Bernanke, Summers, and Geithner. I will only (briefly) emerge from my hiatus when the publishers force me to do so upon the publication of the paperback edition of The Black Swan.
I would go one step further; rather than blaming the Senators, blame the voters who elected these Senators (all of whom are ignorant of the dangers of fiat currencies, central planning and central banking).
The U.S. has never been this fragile. An economy reliant on consumption, cheap energy/commodities, easy credit, entitlements, corporate welfare and social welfare is not durable or sustainable.
The years ahead will require deleveraging on a large scale and small scale. Those grounded with an awareness of our current unsustainability will be more apt to mentally weather the future slowdown/economic pain.
Takeaway: Borrowing money to spend on entitlements, wars and handouts cannot go on forever. Prepare yourself for the consequences of our current financial immaturity.
Sallie Krawcheck, former CFO of Citi, was on CNBC today speaking about BofA/Merrill Wealth Management.
How she has this job is amazing since during her tenure as CFO at Citi (2004 – 2007) the bank accumulated vast amount of toxic assets.
One wonders what type of information was she feeding her CEO, Chuck Prince, who stated:
That was July 9, 2007.
Just one month later, the credit crunch forced Citi to borrow from the Fed Discount Window.
Just over one year later, Citi was effectively bankrupt and exists only because of corporate welfare from both Democrats and Republicans.
Interesting and disturbing that the CFO of this firm, Sallie Krawcheck, is now given a job as head of a Wealth Management division and is rumored to be in the running for Ken Lewis’s job as CEO of Bank of America.
While thinking about Wealth Management and rewarding those who make mistakes, I realized that many parents do this inadvertently when bailing out their children.
Parents often think their child is safe and secure with a trust fund and/or large sum of money upon their passing. Wealth Management firms aggressively push this logic.
In many cases, the child would be better off with a knowledge base, clear mind and sense of responsibility rather than entitlement.
After a certain time, a parent’s failure to parent becomes irrelevant and the child, now an “adult”, needs to rationalize things for himself.
To raise a well-adjusted child, it makes sense to create an environment of self-reflection, awareness and personal responsibility, rather than one of indoctrination.
It is healthful and beneficial to let the child F-E-A-R: Fail Early And Responsibly.
As a “child”, it is healthy to wean yourself from your parents and challenge yourself. The rewards are worth it.
Takeaway: If you want to ruin a man, give him everything he wants. Never let him fail, struggle, grow or mature into a man.
It is not under-education or an inability to think critically which part people from their money, it is their uncontrolled emotions. Faced with purchasing a house which they know is unaffordable or choosing to rent they will not bother to run the comparison as long as it is their dream and “someone” told them they could. Had grumpy old Mr. Critical Thought been allowed to show up and run a spread sheet or put the numbers into Quicken they (the cold, emotionless reality of the numbers) would have irrefutably deprived them of their “dream”.
This drama plays out everyday at different levels across the spectrum of human psychology, the food you should not eat because you are morbidly obese, the years-old but never used exercise equipment in the garage, the spouse or partner who is abusive but you can’t leave, the dress, shoes, house, boat, car you have to buy but cannot afford, the candidates we vote for because we like the way they part their hair. The inconsistencies, contradictions and convolutions are endless and mind-boggling to the point of madness to the observer.
Facing your inconsistencies and contradictions is a never-ending battle. To avoid succumbing to negativity and false senses of happiness (mindless consumerism, distractions, addictions/vices), I’ve found the following help:
- Surrounding yourself with friends, family that support and encourage your growth as a human.
- Feeding your brain positive information (listening to and engaging your mind in positive thoughts).
- Being introspective (journaling, silent thought) and determining your own value system, not one that your parents/your society gives you.
- Being consciously aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and limitations. Actively working to tilt the playing field in your favor.
- Being honest with yourself, your lifestyle and those around you. Honesty is sanity.
Takeaway: Life is too short to waste time with distractions. Since your mind can be your best friend or worst enemy, it makes sense to work on your attitude/worldview/values to have more peace of mind.
It should boggle everyone’s mind how easily bloggers are able to catch obvious fraud in the financial markets while the SEC and other regulatory bodies are looking the other way.
Here are some gems just from the last week alone:
- Perot Systems FrontRunning – ZeroHedge.
- Blatant reinflation of housing bubble – Denninger.
- Corruption at HUD – Karl Denninger.
The SEC was not able to catch a ponzi scheme even after Harry Markopolos delivered it to them on a silver platter.
Choose your sources of information/facts/news very carefully. Stick with those that are honest enough to state their opinions openly and publish their predictions.
Read what you disagree with before drawing your conclusions.
There is a difference between loyalty and blind loyalty. Blind loyalty to anything (religion, government, ideology, spouse) is deadly.
Takeaway: Perpetual reliance on someone else’s seal of approval will rot your brain. Complacency kills.
How can we be the equivalent of this man at our jobs?
How can you take a mundane task and do it so well it inspires others?
How can we serve our employers, families and customers in this way?
Takeaway: Every act of creation is a self-portrait. Take pride in your work.